June 14, 2011

Kent School of Social Work Screws Over Combat PTSD Blogger

I went to Walmart about an hour and half ago and about had a meltdown, it surprised the hell out of me. The last time a panic attack threatened to engulf me was a year ago. The latest panic attack TRIGGERED this rant at home on the keyboard; you heard it here first.

WARNING: If you read this article from here on, YOU WILL BE OFFENDED!

A year ago I was screwed by the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work out of a college degree in social work. This appalling excuse for a Social Work Program screwed a disabled veteran out of a degree. I have the conflicting paperwork that flies in the face of the disgrace they propose to place upon me. I was three months short, after 7 years in college, from graduating with a bachelors in Social Work. Three weeks into my graduating semester they pull me out of class to tell me that I was 10 hours short on my internship. I was to make it up by repeating the year again! Yes, you read that right.

Here is the messed up part; I was hospitalized during the hours they were talking about for suicidal ideation. I was going to kill myself or go to the VA, they hospitalized me for 11 days. I have been hospitalized for suicidal ideation and Chronic Combat PTSD four times in the last two years.

I missed 10 hours from an internship; my understanding of the situation was the hours would be made up the following semester. I provided the documentation and nothing else was said until the clarification came in the form of my being pulled out of class the following semester.

So, I was going to talk about Walmart. Here is the process as I work through the reasons why I should not use what Uncle Sam taught me,
I about had a PTSD moment at Walmart 20 minutes ago, its been a lone time since I had a panic attack. Its a good thing I can recognize them and have the tools to talk myself down from physically removing someone from my personal space.

My thought process; WTF is this guy doing? - Ok, I'm feeling severe anxiety. - OMG, not now. Panic attack, really? - Its been so long since I had... - Ok, you are feeling this. This is not you, you do not have to react. See, he has a small child with him. - He is only being socially rude, maybe he is not aware of it. - It's not worth saying anything just move a little to the right. - Time to go, paid the cashier. - None but me were aware...
This panic attack at Walmart triggered my one year anniversary blues of my U of L experience! A year ago the University of Louisville made a mistake and let me fall between the bureaucratic cracks. I kept everyone in the chain of command at Kent School of Social Work up to date on my mental health. They knew I had Combat PTSD and still worked behind the scenes to derail my chance at a degree, I walk away with a 3.2 GPA. Just recently they sent me a letter saying that they were dismissing me for unprofessional conduct. That conduct? Missing 2 meetings.

The mistakes I made was trusting three Social Workers at the University of Louisville to make an empathetic decision and not registering with the Disability Resource Center. I would have to say that the University of Louisville has left a bad taste in my mouth for the discipline of Social work.

15 comments:

  1. God bless you- your struggle is not forgotten nor in vain.

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  2. Anony, thank you for taking the time to let me know that someone gives a shit. Sometimes when you want the thing you desire the most, your life takes a turn and upends your day. That day was yesterday in more ways then one.

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  3. Oh, I'm offended all right....but not by you!! Apparently the folks at u of l need some training and education of their own! Great job on the talk-down, by the way - I know well how hard it is to take the step back & not just react to the moment.

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  4. It can be very difficult task at times. I talked with a friend who does not read much of my work. I read her this article and she couldn't get past the cussing to see what the article was about and suggested I edit it, I actually did edit some really offensive language. I told her that the people who read my work know how I am when I am venting. Told her it was all part of the process and she didn't have to understand.

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  5. What is offensive is that YOU are that person most needed to be a social worker that will understand, and they have tried to throw that away.

    Way to go in being able to keep yourself safe among Walmartians.

    My heart goes out to you. The "helping professions" need to begin to understand the value of having been there.

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  6. Having been there done that gives a Combat Veteran instant credibility when seeking help, true empathy goes a long way in building rapport with the Combat PTSD Vet. The Kent School of Social Work threw away a opportunity to expand their knowledge base; beyond pushing paper and outdated policies.

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  7. This absolutely sickens me. I'm in the military and a social worker myself and there were seriously better ways to handle being short ten hours on your practicum. Hell, being in the national guard required me to miss time at practicum sites, but I was always able to work out the missed hours with my practicum site and faculty liason. You got hosed here.

    Truly, the social work profession stands to benefit from soldiers with combat experience. Get your undergrad finished however you gotta do it (BSW or some other major) and just get your MSW from a different school.

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  8. I am done with thinking about graduate school at this point and I am not going to a social worker either, too much bureaucracy first under the guise of holistic bullshit. Reminded me of going to the VA 20 years ago way too much. Sorry, still a sore spot talking about this.

    My focus at this time is becoming a service provider for the Veterans Administration of Psychiatric Service Dog to veterans in Louisville, KY. I'm thinking my direction today will inspire my educational aspirations in the near future. I have 155 credits and a 3.5 gpa with credits for minors in sociology, psychology and social work. Had I finished that semester I would have had a 3.9 gpa and graduated magna cum laude.

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  9. I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience at Kent School. I didn't understand what you meant when you wrote that it was a mistake for you to not register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). I did not know if you were truly acknowledging it was a mistake or if you were being sarcastic. I got my MSSW at Kent and registering with the DRC was one of the best things I ever did. When you don't register with the DRC, then you are at the mercy of administrators and professors who may not try to accommodate your disability. With the DRC, there is legal protection. And the student has the option to either permit the DRC to disclose what the disability is or not. I chose to not have it disclosed - that was my business and I wanted to be in total control of who knew and who didn't. Also keep in mind that administrators and professors may not have had "direct practice" experience in a long time because of their positions. I agree with you that you have to be careful whom you trust. Although we expect people in the social work profession to treat us better than those in the general population, I have learned that they are afflicted with the same frailties, shortcomings, faults and propensities that are present in the general population. So, unfortunately, the message is always protect yourself when dealing with any professional.

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    1. I expected social workers to work with me because of my disability and did not register with the DRC. It was a huge mistake that cost me a degree and triggered a two year mental health battle that still rages today.

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    2. I do hope that healing comes your way, and I want to thank you for your service for our country. You didn't ask for PTSD and it is up to us as a nation to salute you and provide you with excellent care. If you believe that anyone in the SW profession (not just at Kent, but at the VA or anywhere) who is a member of NASW has treated you in an unprofessional manner, you are within your rights to lodge your concerns with NASW. That being said, please don't lump everyone in the same boat. There are good administrators and faculty members at Kent. Peace to you.

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    3. Thank you, healing is my main focus today. I understand the avenues to pursue and make this right. What I don't have is the mental or physical energy to do fight it at the moment.

      I spent two and half years at Kent and had many great professors. Two of the professors were administrators, an associate dean and the admissions director. They put their personal biases ahead of professionalism and put me out of the program.

      The post above was about a reaction too two contrasting situations, one triggering the other. Thank you for the condescending comment.

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  10. thanks for sharing.

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  11. I am a former faculty at Kent, one of the many "former". I have information that may be useful to you to get the degree you deserve. Do you have an email address?

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    1. My email address is rmngen@gmail.com I'm in Sacramento, California now.

      To be honest I gave up on University of Louisville.

      I was discouraged from researching and writing about veterans issues at every turn. It didn't dawned on me that I'll be drummed out because of it.

      During my recovery I missed two meetings they called that unprofessional conduct on paper and put me out of the program. Right after I got out the hospital.

      An apology letter and a degree without setting foot on capus might do it. I have 160 credits and expertitial experience way above most of the professors that taught my classes at U of L. That wasn't my attitude there, just shooting straight here.

      This is a sore spot for me still.

      I never once said or did anything unprofessional. My integrity is intact the unfortunate thing is I doubt the bureaucracy at Kent and the trust I put on the professors there was misplaced.

      If I had registered at the Disability Resource Center the professors in question would be out of jobs instead of putting personal agendas above students interest. I didn't have it in me to fight. I though social workers would understand PTSD. I was wrong.

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